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Inspiration for Mobile Research from Tinder, Google, Uber

I was fortunate to share some ways that Dig Insights is working to improve the research we conduct on smartphones at the MRIA conference in June.  The topic of my session, “Swipe Right > Top2Box” was given that title to grab attention, but also to demonstrate that consumers shouldn’t be subjected to many of the traditional ways we think about the mobile research experience.  It is our job as researchers to make the experience better. We recognize that the 20-minute survey with 15 attribute lists are beasts enjoyed by no one.

While mobile research has largely adapted what was intended for desktops, other experiences on smartphones have improved significantly.  Today’s most popular apps use design to provide users efficient ways to interact.  We can’t expect our survey takers to not be making comparisons. At Dig, we strive for the same efficiency in research without sacrificing the depth of insight.

So, here’s a quick recap of a few apps that have inspired us to improve mobile research.


My colleague Michael Edwards recently posted about how Upsiide, which uses swiping like Tinder, can be used for advanced analytics such as Market Mapping. When we first began developing Upsiide, the focus was a ‘Tinder-like’ interface that would simplify the respondent experience.  In my session at the MRIA conference, I argued that thinking ‘mobile-first’ is how we accomplish this. Gaining inspiration from the most widely used apps seemed like a great place to start.  Dating apps included.

We have been pleasantly surprised with how well a swipe interface has replicated traditional desktop methodologies.  It mirrors standard top 2 box preferences in a fraction of the time and cost while improving the experience.  That’s a huge win for us, and our respondents.

Mobile Research Methodology

Google Maps

Google Maps is an app I use everyday.  What may surprise you, if you haven’t delved into it, is that your timeline captures – with alarming precision – where you are each day.  Last October 17th, all my whereabouts, including how long I was there and even what method of transportation I took, was captured.  This enables you to recall where you’ve been – down  to the minute.

So, how does this help mobile research?  On a recent study for a financial services client we were asked to create a diary of their purchases.  The goal was to capture how much was spent, where, and with what payment method.  Rather than asking respondents to recall their past 10 purchases and select credit card, debit or cash, we had them complete a custom mobile diary we built that tapped into the Google Maps API.

Respondents could easily search for locations in our diary interface and Google Maps allowed them to select the location and complete the purchase details.  The end result was an accurate measure of purchase behaviour, and an excellent respondent experience.

Google Maps API Research


If you’ve used Uber (or other apps relying on a rating system), you probably know how easy it is to share feedback.  It’s often two questions; a rating (or thumbs up/down) and reasons for it.  Dig Insights still conducts 10 to 15-minute surveys, however, I wonder how long that will continue.  Given the push to get more pointed feedback, it seems the Ubers and AirBnBs of the world are doing an excellent job of prompting users to give and receive ratings. Rating is simple and providing additional information is often optional. This process doesn’t elicit the same painful experience as that 15 attribute list.

Rating system for mobile research

We have begun experimenting with a similar two question feedback system at the end of our mobile surveys.  The goal here is two-fold:

  • Immediately identify if the respondent liked/dislike the experience
  • Understand reasons for their rating

We know what makes for a good survey experience (you likely do too), but measuring our progress motivates us to improve.

Uber and AirBnB certainly were not the first to use a 5-pt star rating system but they have helped increase the use of simple, intuitive feedback systems that we can learn a lot from.


To get a get a copy of the slides or schedule a presentation of Swipe Right > Top2Box, please email

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